Review of For a Good Time, Call...


Movie Review: "For a Good Time, Call..."

-- Rating: R
Length: 85 minutes
Release Date: August 31, 2012
Directed by: Jamie Travis
Genre: Comedy

"For a Good Time, Call..." is a sweet, raunchy movie about the power of friendships between women. Starring Ari Graynor, Lauren Miller and Justin Long, the movie follows two women as they embark on a new business venture and find friendship in the process. The movie guarantees a supply of laugh-out-loud jokes.

The story opens on two women, Lauren Powell (Lauren Miller) and Katie Steel (Ari Graynor). Years earlier, the two were college enemies, and their relationship has not improved. Lauren is an editor at a publishing house, and Katie makes a living working several jobs. When Lauren loses her job and Katie has trouble making the rent on her beautiful New York City apartment, a mutual friend advises them to move in together.

Putting their issues aside, the two women become roommates. Lauren is dealing with the fallout from getting fired and dumped in the same week, and Katie is going through serious financial issues. When business-minded Lauren sees Katie working as a phone-sex operator, inspiration strikes. She suggests that Katie start her own hotline and offers to handle the administrative end of the business. One thing leads to another, and both women end up shunning their inhibitions and working the phones. Their close association leads to a deep and realistic friendship.

"For a Good Time, Call..." follows the precedent set by "Bridesmaids" and shows that female buddy comedies can be just as raunchy as their male counterparts. The phone sex plot line lends itself well to a host of outrageous, bawdy jokes, and the writers take full advantage. In addition to her starring role, Lauren Miller co-wrote the script with Katie Anne Naylon. The woman-centric humor is apparent throughout the movie, and female viewers are certain to appreciate the innovative jokes and realistic relationships. Many female-friendship movies fall back on tired plot lines and unoriginal humor, but "For a Good Time, Call..." is fresh and unexpected.

The growing relationship between Katie and Lauren is the central focus of the movie. The writers didn't take shortcuts or use typical film conventions-instead, they created a friendship that female viewers can identify with. The characters don't bond during silly shopping montages; they get to know each other gradually. Miller and Graynor have excellent on-screen chemistry, and they are believable as both enemies and friends. Their deepening friendship is sweet and affectionate. It tempers the effect of the raunchy jokes, creating a result that is simultaneously adorable and bawdy.

Another central relationship in "For a Good Time, Call..." is the friendship between Lauren and her best friend, Jesse (Justin Long). Jesse is gay, but the movie manages to avoid the stereotypical "gay best friend" relationship made popular by the television show, "Will and Grace." Rapid-fire repartee aside, the two have a deep and abiding connection that shows through. Long, who rose to fame with roles in risqué teen comedies, gives a sweet, believable performance.

With its touchy subject matter, "For a Good Time, Call..." is not appropriate for younger viewers, but adults will enjoy the constant supply of jokes and one-liners. Some of the jokes are crass, but the film's good-natured heart shows through. In comparison to the dirty jokes, the intimate scenes of the movie are relatively tame.

Miller and Graynor are not full-blown movie stars, which works to their benefit in "For a Good Time, Call..." The actresses will look familiar to many viewers but not enough to overshadow their on-screen characters. Each actress delivers a solid performance and demonstrates considerable acting expertise. Graynor, who acted in "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist," is a standout, offering a sweet and bubbly performance. She is the heart and soul of the film, drawing in the other characters with her outgoing personality. Miller, who is married to actor Seth Rogen, is Graynor's slightly darker, more neurotic, and ultimately lovable counterpart. The actresses make an unexpected and ideal pairing.

Much of "For a Good Time, Call..." deals with a modern woman's freedom to choose her occupation and to turn an unlikely job into a source of empowerment. Overall, the movie is sweet, sentimental, and believable. "For a Good Time, Call..." is best suited to adults who enjoy a good laugh and are not offended by raunchy subject matter.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars